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Economic instability, the coronavirus pandemic, and extreme weather events disrupt small businesses throughout the United States. As a result, companies in professional services industries such as real estate, technology, accounting, legal, and finance have moved to a remote setup and kept their revenues flowing. Still, those in other industries have struggled to remain open and stay afloat. These include businesses in the food services, retail, hospitality, and personal services industries. While that may seem grim, countless entrepreneurs, including those who run niche businesses, are trying to navigate these difficult times and adapt at a moment’s notice.
These efforts are helping Main Street bounce back, albeit at a prolonged rate. Businesses are resuming normal or phased operations while following safety guidelines, consumers are spending money, and the stock market is making gains. In addition, some companies are busier than ever during these uncertain times. This Balboa Capital blog post discusses four niche businesses that are thriving.
Music is important. It makes us feel happy, brings people together, and provides the soundtrack to our lives. But, long before compact discs, digital downloads, and streaming music platforms, vinyl records were the choice of casual and serious music fans. These circular disks are made of polyvinyl chloride from original master recordings, producing the purest version of songs.
The fantastic sound quality, exciting album artwork, and nostalgic nature of vinyl records have pushed the sales needle, pun intended. According to Variety®, 21.8 million records were sold last year¹. This has helped independent record stores in the United States bolster their sales and profits. In addition, many record stores cater to music fans who cannot visit their brick-and-mortar locations by selling records on their websites. Record stores are first on our list of niche businesses for these reasons.
Hobby and toy stores.
After a long day at school or work, many Americans put away their mobile devices, turn off their televisions, and immerse themselves in unplugged entertainment such as jigsaw puzzles and board games. In addition, children are spending more time playing with toys, which is an excellent alternative to staring at glass screens.
Some puzzle and board game manufacturers report double-digit, and triple-digit sales increases for their time-tested products, and independent hobby and toy stores reap the benefits. This year, industry revenue is up, which is impressive considering that hobby and toy stores compete against big-box stores and online retailers. Mom-and-pop toy stores also benefit from consumers who prefer to support local businesses.
Garden supply centers.
Most Americans buy plants, flowers, tools, and other gardening items at large home improvement retailers. However, our country’s independent garden supply centers are experiencing an influx of customers and revenues this year. There are several reasons for this. For starters, garden centers were on the list of “essential businesses” during the pandemic to stay open and provide customers with curbside pickup and home delivery options.
Next, people enjoy planting shrubs and flowers and tending to their vegetable gardens. Garden Pals reported that 55% of American households engage in gardening activities, and 35% grow vegetables and/or fruits². Lastly, local garden centers typically offer a more extensive selection of plants, flowers, trees, seeds, bulbs, soil, fertilizer, and tools. Plus, they have employees knowledgeable about all things horticulture, which significantly benefits customers.
Nutrition, health, and wellness tips are all over the news. You cannot log online or watch television without seeing reports that mention the benefits of walking, working out, eating healthy foods, or taking vitamins. Moreover, many Americans visit their doctors for regular checkups and find they are deficient in specific vitamins. This is helping independently owned vitamin stores sell more vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements.
Vitamins are available at supermarkets, drug stores, large retailers, and online, but local vitamin shops typically have a more extensive selection of non-generic brand names. Additionally, vitamin shop owners and employees can talk to customers and provide recommendations based on their needs.
Niche businesses summary.
There are many other types of niche businesses thriving in the United States. However, we picked the four outlined in this blog post because each has a unique story and high sales results.
Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses Variety or Garden Pals. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.